New-car dealers sold 17.33 million cars and light trucks in 2018, according to Automotive Fleet. Despite a 13% decline in car sales, the year was the fourth-best year in history.
Orders of big-rigs declined in November to a fourteen-month low, the first monthly decline in 2018. Orders for Class 8 heavy-duty trucks, the type used for regional and long-haul routes, totaled 27,900 last month, a 36% decline from October and a 15% decline from the prior November, according to data supplied by ACT Research.
According to October projections from Edmunds and Cox Automotive, auto sales declined 2.1% and 1.9%, respectively. Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, Subaru, Volkswagen and Kia registered sales increases, while Ford, Honda, Nissan, and General Motors posted declines for the month.
Lumber prices recently hit record highs and remain sharply elevated above last year’s prices. Attributed to trade disputes with Canada, wildfires, and limited rail capacity, lumber prices reached an all-time high of $639 on May 17th and closed as high as $588.80 per 1,000 board feet last Tuesday. The increase represents a jump of approximately 70% from last year.
According to FTR Transportation Intelligence, orders of Class 8 trucks – the heavy-duty trucks that commonly carry goods between cities – reached 133,900 for the first quarter of 2018. The orders represent a 98.4% increase from the first quarter of 2017 and the highest level of orders since 2006.
Prices of aluminum reached their highest point since 2012 on Thursday as US sanctions against Russian supplier United Co. Rusal put a ripple in supply. After the LME and CME Group’s Comex noted the refusal of aluminum deliveries from Rusal – the largest aluminum producer outside of China – Rusal was forced to declare force majeure on shipments of alumina, a key input in the production of aluminum.
Trucking spot rates have increased considerably since electronic logging devices (ELDs) became enforced on December 18th. According to DAT Solutions, for the week ending January 6th, spot rates for dry van shipments averaged $2.30, up 10.6% from the $2.08 average reported for the week just before ELDs became law. Similarly, spot rates for refrigerated and flatbed trailers increased to $2.71 and $2.42 – up 14.8% and 4.3%, respectively, over the same period.
The Greenbrier Companies (NYSE: GBX), a leading manufacturer of railcars and provider of rail services, issued its first quarter 2018 earnings before the market opened today.
Daseke continued its streak of acquisitions by acquiring Belmont Enterprises through its wholly owned subsidiary, Smokey Point Distributing. Olympia, Washington-based Belmont is a dedicated hauler for the residential glass market (STOCE). The acquisition adds to Daseke’s current glass capabilities after acquiring Moore Freight Service last month.
Homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE: HOV) reported its fourth quarter and fiscal-year 2017 results before the market opened this morning. Revenues and net income both fell for the quarter and full-year, though less than analysts expected, resulting in a mid-day gain of 6.7% on the company’s stock.